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Dad First, COPD Second
Dad First, COPD Second

Elizabeth provides support, insight and guidance for caregivers.

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Six Days Smoke Free, Take Two

A cartoon depiction of a daily calendarTake two. As you read this post, dad has officially made it to six full days without smoking...again.

Today he asked me, “You don’t happen to have any cigarettes hidden in your room, do ya?”

“What?” I replied. I don’t smoke. He knows that. After the tenth time, I started answering with: “I only have authentic Cuban cigars,” and “Yup, I have a secret stash and don’t even think of taking from there.” Clearly, I was channeling my inner stand-up comedienne.

I finally said, “DAAAD! Why do you keep asking me? You know I don’t have any cigarettes.” His reply: “I thought you might have some leftovers from when you were keeping them in your room and giving them to me piecemeal.”


I had forgotten about that. It’s true -- after his last hospitalization from pneumonia – the time I thought for sure he would come home with an oxygen tank – I cut a deal with him. I would be the keeper of the cigarette cartons and would give him a pack accordingly so he wouldn’t over smoke. It worked. It also forced him to spread out the number of cigarettes he would smoke daily or weekly. Of course, when I went out, the cartons were under lock and key in a clever hiding place I carved out. The downside: every time I reached for them, the strong scent of tobacco not only lingered but it gave itself away. It was like an episode of Covert Affairs where “CIA Agent Annie” hides her fake passports and real money.

One of the greatest lessons my father has taught me is never to start smoking. Even until recently, he nudged, “Liz, don’t ever pick up a cigarette. It’s addictive.” So as he struggles again to stop smoking, I ask, “How are you doing?” His reply, “It’s tough. I keep thinking about it. I feel anxious and nervous. But I try to remember what your editor at Healthline said about a smoker’s craving lasting only three minutes. The problem is I’m full of three minutes, multiplied by six days. That’s a lot of minutos.”

I chuckled. Yet I felt his pain. 

As I headed to the supermarket, he reminded me to buy him ice cream. I said, “I am going to bring you a new flavor: Nicotine.”

He lingered on that thought and for more than three minutes. He was silly. But he wasn’t smoking.  



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About the Author

Elizabeth cares for her mother, a diabetic, and for her father, who suffers from COPD.